Sunday, February 22, 2009

Doing Your Part To Stop Workplace Bullying

Several of my colleagues are heading to Albany, New York to advocate for the Healthy Workplace bill. They will be presenting the bill to Senators and Assemblymembers and asking them to support it. Though I will not be attending this round of lobbying, I have sent letters to 55 Senators and Assemblymembers asking for their support. Though we have a long ways to go, we cannot become frustrated or discouraged as too many people are relying on us to do what we can to get this bill past.

Passing this bill will help to create healthier and more productive workplaces. Eliminating bullying in the workplace will increase employee productivity and morale which will ultimately have a positive effect on organizations’ performance and ability to compete in this ever increasing global marketplace. Not only will productivity and morale increase, the healthcare costs associated with bullying in the workplace will decrease. Typically, individuals who are bullied in the workplace experience mental, physical and emotional ailments which prevent them from contributing to the organizational efforts. The absenteeism rate for bullied employees is high as they seek ways to avoid going to work so that they do not have to encounter their bullies.

According to research conducted by the Workplace Bullying Institute, the turnover costs for Fortune 500 companies is approximately $16 million and litigation due to bullying ranges from $225000 to $1.4 million. These figures undoubtedly will increase as organizations seek to adapt to the current instability and uncertainty of the economy. Further the cost related to prolonged stress according to the Workplace Bullying Institute founder Gary Namie is approximately $150,000 to $200,000 per employee. Here in lies the business case for passing the Healthy Workplace bill, as companies cannot afford to continue to waste money on an issue that could be addressed by the incorporation of anti-bullying policies. When individuals are no longer able to work, they inevitably turn to their state and federal government for assistance, which puts an additional strain on governmental agencies that are already operating at maximum capacity and are trying to meet the needs of constituents. Having workplace anti-bullying legislation would ensure that organizations take the steps needed to create healthier and respectful workplaces. Just as anti-discrimination legislation has had a positive effect on organizations; anti-bullying legislation would do the same and even more. All parties gain by the passage of the Healthy Workplace Bill.

For New York Residents, when contacting your Senator or Assemblymember please refer to Bill number S08793-2008 and A10291 that will sponsored by Senator Thomas P. Morahan and Assemblyman Steve Engelbricht. Thank you for doing your part to see that this bill gets passed.

Writing to your own legislators is the most important action you can take. Legislators value their own constituents very highly and will always give you a moment of their time to pay attention to your concerns.

If you are not sure who you state senator or state assemblymember is, use these simple zip code searches to find out:

Senator Search:

Assembly Search:

Writing to the legislator that represents you is a power action for getting anti-bullying in the workplace legislation passed. Letter writing is the most effective way to have your legislator consider an issue that is important to you.

Thanks for your support.